1980 United States Senate election in New York
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← 1974 November 4, 1980 1986 →
Alfonse D
Elizabeth Holtzman.jpg
Jacob Javits.jpg
Nominee Al D'Amato Elizabeth Holtzman Jacob Javits
Party Republican Democratic Liberal
Alliance Conservative
Right to Life
Popular vote 2,699,652 2,618,661 664,544
Percentage 44.9% 43.5% 11.1%

1980 United States Senate election in New York results map by county.svg
County results

D'Amato:      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%

Holtzman:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Jacob Javits

Elected U.S. Senator

Al D'Amato

The 1980 United States Senate election in New York was held on November 4, 1980. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Jacob Javits was defeated in the primary, and Republican Al D'Amato won the three-way election. It is speculated by some that Elizabeth Holtzman would have won the election had Javits not run after his defeat in the Republican primary.[citation needed]

Republican primary



Republican primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Al D'Amato 323,468 55.68%
Republican Jacob Javits (incumbent) 257,433 44.32%
Total votes 580,901 100.00%

Democratic primary



The Democratic field included four major candidates. Despite receiving the support of Governor Hugh Carey, Bess Myerson lost the Democratic primary to Elizabeth Holtzman.[2]

During the campaign, Holtzman boasted that she was "never been hand-picked by the bosses. I have never been hand-picked by anyone.", in a thinly-veiled dig to her opponents. Holtzman touted her support for women's rights, having secured an extension for the Equal Rights Amendment's 1979 ratification.[3]


New York Senate Democratic primary election, 1980[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Elizabeth Holtzman 378,567 40.74%
Democratic Bess Myerson 292,767 31.51%
Democratic John Lindsay 146,815 15.80%
Democratic John J. Santucci 36,770 11.96%
Total votes 854,919 100.00%

Liberal nomination

General election


Javits's refusal to adjust politically to the rightward movement of his party, as well as his 1979 diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), led to a primary challenge. Javits was defeated in the primary by Hempstead Presiding Supervisor Al D'Amato on September 9.

D'Amato, also running on the Conservative line, proceeded to defeat Democratic U.S. Representative Elizabeth Holtzman and Javits, who ran on the Liberal Party ticket. In the traditionally liberal state of New York, Javits split the Democratic vote with Holtzman, to give D'Amato a close victory.[5]


General election results[6][7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Al D'Amato 2,272,082 37.77%
Conservative Al D'Amato 275,100 4.57% Decrease11.36
Right to Life Al D'Amato 152,470 2.53% N/A
Total Al D'Amato 2,699,652 44.88% N/A
Democratic Elizabeth Holtzman 2,618,661 43.54% Increase5.31
Liberal Jacob Javits (incumbent) 664,544 11.05%
Libertarian Richard Savadel 21,465 0.36% N/A
Communist William R. Scott 4,161 0.07% Decrease0.01
Workers World Thomas Soto 3,643 0.06%
Socialist Workers Victor A. Nieto 2,715 0.05% Decrease0.10
Write-in 73 0.00%
Majority 80,991 1.34%
Total votes 6,014,914 100.00%
Republican hold Swing

See also


  1. ^ "Syracuse Mayoral Primary Results - 9wsyr.com". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  2. ^ Lynn, Frank (24 Sep 1982). "CUOMO BEATS KOCH IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 8 Aug 2021.
  3. ^ "HOLTZMAN, Elizabeth | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  4. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY US Senate - D Primary Race - Sep 09, 1980".
  5. ^ Abramowitz, Alan; Segal, Jeffrey Allan (January 1, 1992). Senate Elections. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472081926.
  6. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY US Senate Race - Nov 04, 1980".
  7. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/1980election.pdf[bare URL PDF]